Ketty Lester Biography

Revoyda Frierson, 16 August 1934, Hope, Arkansas, USA. Ketty Lester began her singing career on completing a music course at San Francisco State College. A residency at the city’s Purple Onion club was followed by a successful tour of Europe before she joined band leader Cab Calloway’s revue. Later domiciled in New York, Lester’s popular nightclub act engendered a recording contract, of which ‘Love Letters’ was the first fruit. The singer’s cool-styled interpretation of this highly popular standard, originally recorded by Dick Haymes, reached the Top 5 in both the USA and UK in 1962, eventually selling in excess of one million copies. The song has been covered many times, with notable successes for Elvis Presley and Alison Moyet. Its attractiveness was enhanced by a memorable piano figure but Lester was sadly unable to repeat the single’s accomplished balance between song, interpretation and arrangement. She later abandoned singing in favour of a career as a film and television actress, with appearances in the series Days Of Our Lives, Little House On The Prairie, Hill Street Blues, and the movies Blacula and The Prisoner Of Second Avenue, to name but a few. She was later coaxed back into the studio, but only on her stipulation that it would be exclusively to perform sacred music.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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